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The Use of Chatbots for Teaching and Learning in a Mobile Environment: ESL Teachers’ Views

The Use of Chatbots for Teaching and Learning in a Mobile Environment: ESL Teachers’ Views

Paper presented at the International Conference on e-Learning USM

Chuah Kee Man

October 21, 2021

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  1. 2021 Chuah Kee Man 2021 Chuah Kee Man The Use

    of Chatbots for Teaching and Learning in a Mobile Environment: ESL Teachers’ Views By Kee-Man Chuah and Prof Dr Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan Faculty of Language and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia
  2. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Introduction The use of mobile tools

    in language learning (especially in ESL contexts) has allowed teachers to support their classroom instructions by: adding more opportunities for authentic use of language (e.g., interaction with native speakers) providing engaging activities that enhance students’ understanding (e.g., game-based tools) allowing seamless access to useful materials and resources (e.g., open educational resources) (Cakmak, 2019; Gangaiamaran & Pasupathi, 2017; Kukulska-Hulme et al., 2017)
  3. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Introduction One area in mobile learning

    that has grown rapidly is the use of conversational agents or chatbots thanks to the advancement in artificial intelligence. The origin of chatbots can be traced back as far as the late 1960’s when ELIZA was introduced – a simple bot that give responses based on keywords inputted by users (Fryer & Carpenter, 2006). Now, it is more human-like and accept more than just text inputs. From virtual assistants (e.g., Siri, Google Assistant) to text-based chatbots that can be installed in chat apps (e.g. Telegram, Discord, Facebook Messenger).
  4. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Introduction Studies on the use of

    chatbots in English language learning, however, have focused on the following areas: A review by Smutny and Schreiberova (2020) also indicated the affordances and constraints of chatbots but they did not investigate its use from the perspectives of teachers or students. The development process of chatbots (Dokukina & Gumanova, 2020; Wu & Yan, 2019) Linguistic accuracy (Coniam, 2014; Das & Kumar, 2018) Effectiveness or Usability review (Kim, 2018; Petrovic & Jovanovic, 2020)
  5. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Research Questions What are the ESL

    teachers’ views on the use of chatbots in English language teaching? To what extent can chatbots support the Community of Inquiry among the learners?
  6. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Theoretical Underpinning In investigating ESL teachers’

    views, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework is used to guide the formulation of questions to be used in the survey (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001). The focus is on whether chatbots (regarded as a “virtual human-like assistant) can simulate a learning environment that foster social, cognitive or teaching presence. Source: https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/
  7. 2021 Chuah Kee Man A survey research design was used.

    Online questionnaires with 5-point Likert-scale items (1 being strongly disagree, 5 being strongly agree) and open-ended questions. Through purposive sampling, invitations to ESL teachers were sent out via email and chat groups. 154 ESL teachers signed up for the study but only 142 of them managed to provide full responses to the survey. They are all secondary school teachers with at least 3 years of teaching experience and are familiar with the use of mobile tools for learning. Methodology
  8. 2021 Chuah Kee Man USE OF CHATBOTS Teachers were required

    to use chatbots as part of their mobile learning activities Data Collection and Analysis Procedures SURVEY A survey was conducted on the participating teachers. LIKERT-SCALE ITEMS Likert-Scale items were analysed using descriptive statistics OPEN-ENDED ITEMS Questions on suggestions. Responses were analysed thematically.
  9. 2021 Chuah Kee Man The Chatbots Two text-based chatbots :

    • can be integrated into Telegram and FB Messengers • related to English language learning. Teachers were required to introduce them to their students. They can also design suitable activities around them. E.g., a daily word discovery, or Ask Andy on a topic.
  10. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Results Construct Item Mean Score (max

    5) Language1 The chatbots simulate authentic language use. 4.13 Language2 The chatbots produce accurate language use. 3.79 Language3 The chatbots model good use of words or phrases. 4.03 Language4 The chatbots model good use of grammar. 3.67 Feedback1 The chatbots help to provide immediate feedback. 3.92 Feedback2 The chatbots allow students to do self-checking. 3.88 Feedback3 The chatbots correct students’ mistakes directly. 2.92 Usability1 The chatbots are easy to be used. 4.34 Usability2 The chatbots load smoothly through Telegram/Messenger 3.96 Usability3 The chatbots have a friendly interface. 4.09 The first section of the online survey focuses on teachers’ views (N=143) on the use of chatbots according to three major constructs: language learning, feedback and usability.
  11. 2021 Chuah Kee Man 86% n=122 75% n=107 48% n=68

    Results The second section of the survey required the teachers (N=142) to indicate to what extent the use of chatbots can support the Community of Inquiry among the learners. Social Presence Chatbots simulate social interactions and engagement with the learners, prompting them to respond and be more active. Teaching Presence Chatbots function like a teacher in guiding learners, while giving reliable feedbacks. Cognitive Presence Chatbots assist learners to be cognitively engaged and reflect on their errors or the learning process.
  12. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Results The open-ended questions on suggestions

    for improvement as well as potential use of chatbots in English language teaching revealed the following key themes: Themes Responses AI-based improvement The chatbots need to improve its responses. It seems not so intelligent. I find the chatbots rather mechanistic after a few rounds of usage. My students complained the same. Accuracy of the Corrective Feedbacks It is very useful since students can learn the language rather authentically, but the accuracy can be improved. My students love it since they don’t have to ask me regularly. But some responses are not accurate. I think maybe need to check on this. Collaboration It would be good if the chatbots can also support group chats. This would be useful for discussion-like tasks. My students wanted to work together, so I had to design a task where they get to discuss but respond to the chatbots together. Can add this feature.
  13. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Discussion & Implications ESL teachers are

    positive about the use of chatbots in their teaching but remained reserved on chatbots’ accuracy (Coniam, 2014; Das & Kumar, 2018). Chatbots can also supplement task-based language teaching. They do agree on its use to assist them in providing feedback to learners as the teaching presence seems to be elevated. This promotes flexible learning beyond class hours (Cakmak, 2019). The findings serve as a foundation on how to integrate the use of chatbots in English language teaching. Chatbot developers could also take note of the areas for improvements.
  14. 2021 Chuah Kee Man Conclusion The exploratory study has provided

    insights on Malaysian ESL teachers’ views pertaining to the use of chatbots for English language teaching in a mobile learning environment. There is a huge potential of using chatbots to encourage ESL students to actively use the target language. Future research could investigate ESL students’ perspective and correlate with teacher’s use of chatbots in the learning activities. This exploratory study is also limited to only two text-based chatbots – future research can look at voice-based chatbots as well.
  15. 2021 Chuah Kee Man References: Cakmak, F. (2019). Mobile learning

    and mobile assisted language learning in focus. Language and Technology, 1(1), 30-48. Coniam, D. (2014). The linguistic accuracy of chatbots: usability from an ESL perspective. Text & Talk, 34(5), 545-567. Das, S., & Kumar, E. (2018, December). Determining accuracy of chatbot by applying algorithm design and defined process. In 2018 4th International Conference on Computing Communication and Automation (ICCCA) (pp. 1-6). IEEE. Dokukina, I., & Gumanova, J. (2020). The rise of chatbots–new personal assistants in foreign language learning. Procedia Computer Science, 169, 542-546. Fryer, L., & Carpenter, R. (2006). Bots as language learning tools. Language Learning & Technology, 10(3), 8-14. Gangaiamaran, R., & Pasupathi, M. (2017). Review on use of mobile apps for language learning. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 12(21), 11242-11251. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of distance education, 15(1), 7-23. Kim, N. Y. (2018). A study on chatbots for developing Korean college students' English listening and reading skills. Journal of Digital Convergence, 16(8), 19-26. Kukulska-Hulme, A., Lee, H., & Norris, L. (2017). Mobile learning revolution: Implications for language pedagogy. The handbook of technology and second language teaching and learning, 217-233. Petrovic, J., & Jovanovic, M. (2020). Conversational agents for learning foreign languages--a survey. arXiv preprint arXiv:2011.07901. Smutny, P., & Schreiberova, P. (2020). Chatbots for learning: A review of educational chatbots for the Facebook Messenger. Computers & Education, 151, 103862. Wu, W., & Yan, R. (2019, July). Deep chit-chat: Deep learning for chatbots. In Proceedings of the 42nd International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (pp. 1413-1414).